Exam Movie Review, Explanation and Interview with Stuart HazeldineExam is a fantastic, low budget film with a great premise, wonderful script and clever twist at the end. Definitely worth a watch for the intrigue alone.IdeaScreenplayEnjoymentDialogueSpecial Effects2016-08-274.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (7 Votes)Exam Movie Review, Explanation and Interview with Stuart Hazeldine The other day I was tipped to a movie by you all called Circle. It was a closed box movie wherein 50 people wake up in a room, and a random person would be killed every couple minutes. They then learn that the people in that room were able to vote for the next victim and all manner of hell begins to breakout. Machiavellians show themselves for who they are. Ageists, Sexists, and Biggots arrive by the busload until the movie hurtles to it’s clever ending. Want to join that conversation you can find that review here. But it was during my searching and researching about Circle that I stumbled upon a British flick that had all the similar traits as Circle. That movie was entitle Exam. And the more I read about this movie, the more I wanted to see it. It was another closed box movie, it had a small cast. (7? 8 people? And some of my favorite movies are small cast movies, like Coherence, Time lapse, Primer, The One I Love… all had a handful of people, and amazing scripts to lean on.) I just can’t even tell you how much a good script does for differentiating a movie like this. Get a good idea? And a fantastic writer? I’m in. Speaking of which, I am reading the script presently of the movie Arrival from Eric Heisserer, and I’m pretty excited about that movie coming our way. Exam Movie Overview First, I’m not going to give you any spoilers in this next section, and I will be fairly explicit about when spoilers are inbound. Ok? But right now, I’m CERTAIN that almost none of you have even heard of the movie Exam. So what is it about? Eight candidates for a job opportunity are brought to a single room, and are given a single test sheet. They are then instructed by the Invigilator (overseer) to not ruin their sheet, not to talk to the guard, or to talk to anyone outside the room. They were to have a limited time to answer the question. “Do you have any questions?” No one responded… and the test begins. Only problem? There’s nothing on the sheet, at all. And so begins the chaos that is Exam. The eight individuals go through a number of different phases of chaos. But the biggest question I had going in? Would any of them survive the test, let alone get hired. This gets all kinds of crazy when this thing puts the pedal to the floor. Why don’t we watch the trailer – and then, those of you who have not seen it yet can go rent it or buy it, whatever just get it… and then come back and join in on the discussion. Fair enough? Such a great film. And I am definitely on record extolling the virtues of dialogue driven movies. So if dialogue isn’t your dish? Just turn around and walk away, because Exam is a mental tease that requires you to think from beginning to end. To consider the motives of the characters, and the ins and outs of the world that surrounds them. So with that? If you have yet to see the film please click [amazon text=here&asin=B0040QYRSQ]… and come back when you are done. Great. Exam Movie Rules Walkthrough Basically the entire movie hinges on a second point… what is the test? When the eight people are walked into the room they are given sheets of paper with a title on the front, “Candidate 1”, “Candidate 2”, etc. But there is nothing else on the sheet at all. So the candidates are stuck there to ponder the words of the Invigilator and “I am the Invigilator, listen carefully to every word that I say. There will be no repetition. I won’t apologize for the hardships you’ve gone through to reach this room. The pressures and the pains were necessary. Resilience is a key attribute in these dark times, and if you can’t survive our selection process, you won’t survive in the job. “Many highly qualified candidates have tried to reach this point and failed. You have succeeded, and now the final stage lies before you. One last hurdle separates you from your goal, which is to join our esteemed ranks. The test is simple in comparison, yet it will determine who leaves this room with a contract of employment and who leaves with the bus fare home. Through these trials, you’ve gained some idea of the power of this organization, so believe me when I tell you that there is no law in this room but our law. And the only rules in here are our rules. There is one question before you, and one answer is required. If you try to communicate with myself or the guard, you will be disqualified. If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you will be disqualified. If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified. Any questions? Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen. “Begin.” Seconds later, the Chinese woman is walked out for breaking a rule she didn’t realize was there. So, from the Invigilator’s speech, what did the candidates need to surmise were the rules of the job interview? Rule #1 – There is no law in this room but the company’s law and the company’s rules Rule #2 – There is only one question and only one answer. Rule #3 – There is no communication with the guard or outside the room. Rule #4 – If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you’ll be disqualified. Rule #5 – If you choose to leave the room, you’ll be disqualified. So there are five distinct rules that the Invigilator lines up for our candidates in his opening. Each one is worded very precisely, and succinctly. You can’t leave, and you can’t throw someone else out either. You can’t spoil your paper. But the biggest and most important rule of them all? “There is only one question and only one answer.” And yet, the paper is completely empty?!? Exam Movie Stages Like the recent review and explanation I did for the movie Circle, these 8 people are totally Tabla Rasa’d, if I can verb that Latin. None of them know each other, and not only that, but the audience doesn’t know or understand the world we are in presently either. But they all leak out and explode onto the screen when they are ready. But each in it’s turn. Phase 1 – Confusion Laden Chaos The movie opens up as a free form data storm. The candidates know nothing. The candidates are confused and unsure of where to begin. But as the Oriental Woman is escorted out they begin to realize there is some sort of shape in the storm. There are rules at play here… Phase 2 – Organizational Quandries Not only do the begin to grasp that there are rules that are at play, but that those rules were given to them informally in the Invigilator’s welcome speech. Embedded in the simple phrases are boundaries and cliffs awaiting them all. And if they could only just determine what the rules are specifically, maybe, just maybe they would lead to an understanding of how to solve the puzzle. And so the candidates begin pushing the boundaries and learning the rules. Occasionally one of the candidates falls afoul of a rule they hadn’t fully understood and ejects them from the game. Whoops, the interview. Phase 3 – Collective Reasoning They work together. For a while. Because they are lost without one another. They begin investigating developing the paper, different lights, and other ways to extract the one question from the paper. Essentially they come up dry… but they work together as a method of furthering the collective good. Which is assumed to be a thing. But wasn’t really. And as soon as they’ve started they stop working for each other’s good. Phase 4 – Machiavellian Maneuverings Once the rules are fully grasped… ‘don’t spoil that paper’, ‘don’t address the guard’, etc… and their collective good fails them all, the mood shifts from a we to a me. And the predominant theory during this phase isn’t that there is a question to solve, but that it is rather a question of Survival of the Fittest. And so the candidates begin to actively undermine one another. Trickery and manipulation is the name of the game now… get the others to invalidate their own candidacy. Phase 5 – Comprehension and Survival As the movie parades it’s way to the conclusion we start to see that as candidates are beginning to die, it may be more about survival than it is in fact about getting the job. Seriously. Already we have one man beaten unconscious and another shot to death. Remember what the Vigilator said in the beginning, “there is no law in this room but the company’s laws”… Apparently he wasn’t joking. The guard hasn’t moved a muscle even with someone’s hand down his pants. I mean, really? If you are in that room, you are certain that you are in a fight for survival. Exam Ending – what just happened? 99% of you searched this post out for this one paragraph. Guaranteed. When the question is finally discovered on the page using the broken glass and the glasses it says this: “Question 1.?” Right? I think I got that exactly right. I am certain you’ll correct me if I am wrong. But what does that mean? Did you get it? It’s a very similar statement as when the Invigilator said, There is only one question, and only one answer… Wha? The interview question that the candidates need to answer was listed up above in the Invigilator’s speech, ready? “If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified. Any questions? Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.” did you catch it? Any questions? Any questions? Any questions? Wow wait what? That, is, I thought, a rhetorical question! What would have happened if some smart Alec had said, No, actually I don’t. Would they have immediately won the position and the others escorted out? What do you think would have happened? Maybe I should ask the writer, creator, director, that very question and get back to you with his answers. Well, as luck would have it, I reached out to Mr. Hazeldine on Twitter and he was kind enough to answer this particular question, as well as a number of other questions as well. @tayoflore yup. Or written it at any time during the test. — Stuart Hazeldine (@stuarthazeldine) August 27, 2016 So, to clarify what Stuart Hazeldine is saying – after the Invigilator had started the test, if any one of the candidates had said out loud, or written on their sheet, “No, I don’t have any questions.” the job interview puzzle would have ended. The guard would have come and escorted out the other seven (or however many remained at that point) candidates, and they would have then offered the job to that individual. Make sense? Thanks Mr. Hazeldine for helping us sort that out! Interview Conversation with Stuart Hazeldine Seeing as though the conversation occurred over Twitter, I cleaned up the questions and answers a little bit for clarity sake. If you’d like to see the unedited thread of our conversation, you can do so here. Taylor – “I just watched your movie Exam and am completely transfixed! Are you up for some questions about it?” Stuart – “Glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to ask. Whether I can answer, we’ll see…” Taylor – “Closed box movies that don’t feel contrived are a rarity… how do you think you pulled it off?” Stuart – “Make your location a metaphor for the closed system of the universe/this life, and you won’t go too far wrong.” Taylor – “See? Metaphor! Brilliant. And that’s why I do web development for a living and you make art. Next question, where the heck did Invigilator come from? I’m a word guy and I had zero idea what that meant or where it had come from.” Stuart – “British word for examiner or supervisor. Liked the sound of it.” Taylor – “Definitely like the name – need it on a mug. “World’s best Invigilator” has a lovely ring to it, plus movie tie in! Also, I’m curious about the pandemic world going on outside the walls of the interview. Sounds like a near zombie movie going on outside the box?” Stuart – “When I was writing it, bird flu was a looming threat. Mix that with HIV and hey presto. But I kept things intentionally vague.” Taylor – “Did you see viewers leaving your movie and still not understanding “Question 1.”? Did it lose many? Stuart – “Some, probably. But if your priority is that everyone must easily understand, then the audience won’t get to do any work.” Taylor – “This is perfect. Pandering directors are awful. You up for one more question about your upcoming direction on the movie The Shack and your faith?” Stuart – “No harm in asking.” Taylor – “Being a Christian director and writer makes you a bit of a unicorn in this space – is it an opportunity or more of an impediment?” Stuart – “It’s only an impediment if you use your faith as an excuse to make substandard art, or rely on other people to offer you work.” Taylor – “Preach it. Thanks a ton for doing what you do and representing so well. And on a personal note, I can’t wait to see Exam 2 where the candidates leave the box and see this crazy pandemic world around them.” Stuart – “One day, perhaps.” There you have it. Personally can’t wait for The Shack to come out. I’m sure it will be a fantastic big hit. Way bigger than the Exam was, just due to the book’s scale. But even more so? I want Hazeldine to head back and show us more about this crazy pandemic going on. I’m fairly intrigued. Anyway, thoughts? Questions? Does the ending make sense to you now that the director has clarified it a bit? Or am I daft for thinking some people didn’t get it? Love to hear more in the comments. Until next time. 25 Responses Tanya August 27, 2016 After reading your talk with Hazeldine, now I have more questions. The question being the one asked by the Invigilator was brilliant, and considering how well they figured out that every word he said was important, just as everything he didn’t say matters. But it really surprised that if anyone had said ‘no questions from me’, they would have gotten the job there and then. This raises far more questions in my mind. What if one of them did have a question? Interviews work both ways, the company questions the applicant and the applicant also is expected to ask questions, to make sure they have the best people for the job, and also making sure it is a job that meets the applicants requirements before accepting. At the end when she figures out that the question is ‘any questions?’ why is the answer no? Even more so when she then starts to ask a lot of questions and gets lots of answers, based on the method of the Exam application and how no one stepped in when shitte got real, she is unsure she wants to work for this company anymore. There is no information about what the job is, they tell each other that this companies worst jobs are still the best jobs in the world, yet none of them really know what job it is they are applying for. The invigilator told them they were not allowed to talk to him, the guard or anyone outside the room in the allotted time. Basically Hazeldine is saying this is a no questions asked type job? We find out during the course of the movie that there is some horrid disease inflicting the world, this company created a suppressor, and is looking for a cure. We only find out after the test that they have not only found a cure, but it also blesses people with super healing and is what the gun was loaded with, instead of bullets, but we only discover this after the Exam has ended and the winner starts asking all her questions, as she is unsure she wants to work for a company that treats people like this and needs to know what it was all about. I thought that it was a medical research lab trying to cure a horrid illness. They have no idea what the job is they are applying for. So why would the answer be ‘no I don’t have any questions’ ? I still don’t know what job they were competing for. Because of the nature of the Exam all kinds flitted through my mind. What kind of company is this, that they are ok with causing huge stress to their applicants, even one who is suffering from the illness, and loses his life saving pill. Maybe they are a scam, maybe they are showing they don’t care about humanity, maybe they created the illness to get rich on the profits, type thing. Maybe they are really good and working on a cure, that is why the exam is hard, they need people who are really resourceful, that wouldn’t make silly mistakes like checking to see what paper they are setting on fire to spark the sprinklers. When dealing with a deadly disease, eyes on the ball people, a silly mistake like not checking what is in your hand could have serious consequences. Testing how well they can work within a team, even if one of them is a pyscho and the odds seem impossible, maybe there was no question, just a test to see how they cope under pressure. The answer was how they behaved during the allotted time. This theory worked for me up until the winner answered no questions, and Hazeldine conformed that was the correct answer, and that had anyone written down no they would have gotten the mysterious job. Reply Taylor Holmes August 29, 2016 Hey there Tanya, Great questions all… let me see if I can talk through some of them with you and see where we get… What if one of them did have a question? Interviews work both ways, the company questions the applicant and the applicant also is expected to ask questions, to make sure they have the best people for the job, and also making sure it is a job that meets the applicants requirements before accepting. At the end when she figures out that the question is ‘any questions?’ why is the answer no? Even more so when she then starts to ask a lot of questions and gets lots of answers, based on the method of the Exam application and how no one stepped in when shitte got real, she is unsure she wants to work for this company anymore. Perfect question. They answered the question by asking a question – so I would assume that that also would be an answer. Honestly, it didn’t matter what the candidate said in response to the question… it matters more that they FOUND the question at all. Right? Once they find the question… solved the riddle, the rest is just semantics at that point. But heck, what do I know? We could ask the man that wrote the script… The invigilator told them they were not allowed to talk to him, the guard or anyone outside the room in the allotted time. Basically Hazeldine is saying this is a no questions asked type job? Yeah, that was my take away. They put them in the room to see what they would do. Don’t bother appealing outside the room, because we aren’t helping you. Oh, as an added motivator to NOT contact anyone outside the room, we’ll kick you out of the interview if you do. And yeah, I personally think that the job was the right hand ‘man’ to this idiot savant who was running this company in spite of his incapabilities. Deaf needed someone to do everything he couldn’t do… which, from the looks of it… was most everything. So yeah, they wanted to know you could think on your feet and not need hand holding, because Deaf sure as heck wasn’t going to do it. We find out during the course of the movie that there is some horrid disease inflicting the world, this company created a suppressor, and is looking for a cure. We only find out after the test that they have not only found a cure, but it also blesses people with super healing and is what the gun was loaded with, instead of bullets, but we only discover this after the Exam has ended and the winner starts asking all her questions, as she is unsure she wants to work for a company that treats people like this and needs to know what it was all about. Yup, that was my take away as well. I thought that it was a medical research lab trying to cure a horrid illness. They have no idea what the job is they are applying for. So why would the answer be ‘no I don’t have any questions’ ? I still don’t know what job they were competing for. Like I said above, I think it was a right hand man slot for Deaf… no? As the credits rolled it didn’t even really cross my mind as anything other than that. So maybe I assumed too much. Because of the nature of the Exam all kinds flitted through my mind. What kind of company is this, that they are ok with causing huge stress to their applicants, even one who is suffering from the illness, and loses his life saving pill. Maybe they are a scam, maybe they are showing they don’t care about humanity, maybe they created the illness to get rich on the profits, type thing… etc etc…. These are the kinds of questions that spin my clock. First, a question for you – how did you find out about the movie, and how did you find this review. Ie – how long ago did you watch the movie. Did you watch it because I recommended it and thus, it’s fresh? Or did you watch it a year or two ago? Normally I don’t review movies this old… so it would just help provide clarity. Personally think that it could very well be that this company (forget the name) is the creator of the virus. And they are driving up profits by creating the solution. But we got the feeling that the virus had ravaged the world, and that large swaths of the planet had died or had been affected by this HIV/Avian Flu variant. And I would think they would have pulled the solution out long before things had gotten this desperate. Just me. But who knows. Maybe Deaf is a Martin Shkreli equivalent. Could be. Doesn’t seem to fit the mold. But could. But because Deaf seems to be more interested in the Science than he does with the money… (ie, he isn’t a Shkreli douche that sits in front of congress smirking til the cows come home) I actually think that this company has gained enormous powers through a government that basically said to all big drug companies with an inkling of hope – do whatever is physically necessary to get a cure. (Which, we are seeing happening now for companies that are seeking new antibiotics… that aren’t resisted.) So your original theory wasn’t who made it to the end… but who acted the best, and most altruistically? That is an interesting spin I hadn’t thought of. Definitely is a counterargument (contra argument? I get those confused) to the theories I posit here. I like it. Except that we have the answer to the question at the end. Right? We know how they are selecting… the movie says so. No? Even without the Director’s input, we should know that I think? Great comment though… very intriguing all the way around. Reply Tanya August 30, 2016 Not sure I have formed a theory about this movie yet, still mostly trying to understand it, so have a few questions. I think it was about a month or so ago I watched all these movies, Exam, Circle and Uncanny, plus a few others. I went through a science fiction genre marathon. Those thoughts flitted through my mind while watching the film, once they revealed that the gun was loaded with the cure and harmless I dropped those theories. Though psycho was tied up and almost died, and he tied up another and started to torture her with paper cuts, with an in the eye threat which is really nasty. It’s fair to wonder what kind of company would allow their interview room to escalate into such chaos. Even more so for a company that is trying to save the world, surely they need people who won’t go mental, no matter how stressful things get and can work within a team. If psycho had figured out the question, would he had really gotten the job, even more so considering he bullied the boss into eating his paper? I agree that they were seeking the best person for the job by testing the ability to be resourceful and not overlook the simple solution. Right in the beginning they start analysing what was said and what wasn’t said as being important. I get that the only question was when the Invigilator asked ‘any questions’ It was the fact she said ‘no’ And if the answer had been ‘yes I have some questions…’ how would they answer that, would it have been ok to fill their paper with questions, they couldn’t communicate with anyone other than each other, and no one really had a clue what job they were even applying for so they wouldn’t be able to answer the question. That was the bit I struggled with. I get that the first girl to get removed wasn’t writing any questions, they didn’t just remove her at noticing she was writing on her paper, they checked to see what she was writing. In theory the answer to Question 1: any questions? Would be questions. She like most people is use to writing CVs to get jobs, so that was her go to, why is she the best person for the job. Though in a sense the psycho was almost the last person standing, and would he have won the job if Deaf hadn’t messed with the clock tricking them into believing time was up? Why would that matter if the only test was to figure out that the question was any questions… and why was there only one answer? I don’t think any of them would make suitable assistance to Deaf, no one had his back when he was being bullied, and if they had made more effort with the team work would have discovered his glasses could see the tiny writing, he could only drop them on his way out, as a way for them to have a chance to find the written question on the paper if they figured that out. I think it’s mainly that they all become aware this company’s aim is to help sick people, they know they are being watched and tested, yet they quickly start acting like wild savages. They have no idea what the job is, but why would any of them think they would be employed after showing themselves to be someone crazy. How on earth would they cope if the timer is trying to save someone’s life, would they go crazy and start smashing up the place, surely a cool head is required in the vast majority of jobs. Don’t get me wrong though, I really did enjoy the movie and thought it was clever. I often apply movies to real life for a laugh.. Lucy for example made me laugh. I was chatting to someone about a really cool video I had seen where it shows how brain cells develop and react to thoughts.. while trying to find it again and send them a link, I found pages of the 10% myth. Movies are not real life, movies and pretty much all stories play with metaphors. In that I did really enjoy the movie and how it played out. It’s the fact she said no that bothered me, but then started to ask loads of questions. I found that part confusing. She wouldn’t be removed for asking, because she only started to talk to them after the timer was up.. But in theory it wasn’t a spoken answer that was required, because at no point during the test was anyone allowed to communicate with anyone outside the room. The Invigilator asked the question ‘any question’ so considering no one was allowed to try and talk to him during the exam, if anyone had answered allowed rather than write it down, would be breaking the rules in communication the answer. If she said it after the timer ran out then the test is over and she didn’t answer in the allotted time. Honestly if she had quickly written yes on her paper within the timer, I wouldn’t have an issue with this movie. And just enjoy it as a metaphor for a survival of the fittest story. That survive isn’t about being the most psycho, it is who has the best intelligence to problem solve. You can’t fight a disease with brute strength, it takes resourcefulness and attention to detail. But most importantly to ask the questions… seek the answers. Reply Fraser Secret October 16, 2016 Hey there, I read your back-and-forth very closely for a bit then stopped because it seemed (and I don’t mean to be a jerk at all), that both of you completely missed the ending’s point. Maybe it was discussed further down your thread, but I didn’t see any indication it was going there. The reason she said “No” as the answer to the question “Any questions?” is because on the paper there is no question. Any questions? No. Just a question heading: Question 1. And then nothing. ie. no question. Answer therefore is no. No questions. Any questions? Taylor Holmes October 18, 2016 No no no no no… Not to be a jerk or anything but… (hehe), That is incorrect. And the author of the story even says as much. The invigilator said at the beginning, “If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified. Any questions? Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.” The exam question is, ‘Any Questions?’. I then asked Stuart Hazeldine specifically about that, and what would have happened if anyone had said, NO I DO NOT HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, and his answer on Twitter was, “@tayoflore yup. Or written it at any time during the test.” So no, the answer isn’t No because there were no questions. The answer was no, because they didn’t have any questions. Subtle difference but significant. No? Or maybe I misunderstood you? Clarification would be awesome! Taylor Fraser Secret October 18, 2016 Taylor, I believe you when you tell me the response the writer of the movie gave, but his response makes no sense given the ending. I think he misunderstood your question, but that theory is clearly kind of ridiculous also. Here’s what we know (and I’m only including the relevant points to my argument, not all the things we know about the movie, which is maybe obvious but I haven’t posted anywhere like this in a long, long time) 1) The ONLY question asked by the invigilator was “Any Questions?” Reply Fraser Secret October 18, 2016 Taylor, I believe you when you tell me the response the writer of the movie gave, but his response makes no sense given the ending. I think he misunderstood your question, but that theory is clearly kind of ridiculous also. Here’s what we know (and I’m only including the relevant points to my argument, not all the things we know about the movie, which is maybe obvious but I haven’t posted anywhere like this in a long, long time) 1) The ONLY question asked by the invigilator was “Any Questions?” 2) So technically, yes, after that point anybody could have answered in the negative, saying “No, no questions.” But A) Nobody would do that, because they believed there weren’t allowed to talk at all at that point, and B) why would they have spent all that time on the glasses and the hidden message in the papers? Conclusion, they wouldn’t bother if it weren’t essential. They HAD to use the glasses to see the hidden message on the paper and so thus see that although there is a Question Header “i.e. Question 1” there is no actual question. And that’s what leads the winner to her answer. Yes, you’re right, but no character could have come to that answer without the glasses and the hidden message. Perhaps we are saying the same thing. For the record, I don’t actually believe the company would have hired anyone who simply said “No questions” without having the adequate backup to prove it. This is why I think the writer didn’t get your question properly. No company would act that way. They wanted them to discover the riddle. Reply Taylor Holmes October 18, 2016 Hahahah, we probably are in violent agreement. And yeah, I agree with you – this company should immediately disqualify anyone that didn’t have any questions in a setup like this! hahaha. So yeah… we are probably on the same page. I do agree that no one would speak during that point. Which brings them through the entirety of the chaos of the movie. But it is a bit implausible. Reminds me of a movie, where geeks had to build locked rooms? And one team built a miniature to put in front of the keyhole… and when they tried to unlock it they actually locked the door, and vice versa? What movie is that? But that was implausible as well, because, WHO DOESNT CHECK TO SEE IF THE DOOR ISN’T LOCKED TO START?!? hahaha. Anyway, love the dialogue Mr. Secret. Welcome to the party. Reply Fraser Secret October 18, 2016 btw, that’s my actual name. Fraser Secret. Even the Canadian equivalent of the BBC, the CBC, doesn’t believe me. That’s fine. Only in this insanely paranoid world does my actual name get banned. Fuck every authority to hell. Scott J. Tepper November 26, 2016 What’s wrong with the answer, “Yes.”? Reply Taylor November 26, 2016 Probably nothing – maybe a good question to ask Stuart. “Yes, I have a question. Do I get the job?” Hahaha. If I get a minute I’ll ask. Reply Gabriel December 14, 2016 I still don’t get the “Question 1.” and how they would answer the Invigilator if they were not allowed to speak to him. Reply RandomPinay December 30, 2016 “QUestion 1.” was the only thing written on the paper. So the only correct answer to the Invigilator’s questions: Any questions? was No. Because there were no questions written on the paper. I disagree with the director’s view that if the canditates said “No questions” during the 80 minutes that they would have gotten the job — because that would have been breaking the no speaking to him or the guard rule. If they wrote No on the paper though, I feel that would be more valid – because writing the answer on the paper isn’t “spoiling it, right? That’s my take on it though. Great movie! Reply Taylor December 31, 2016 Hey Pinay, I have told plenty of movie writers and directors straight to thei face that I disagree (tho politely of course) with them! So who am I to tell you not to disagree with Stuart?! But I think we get the general point, it’s a trick question. The entire movie is a trick question! End of story. Reply Bruno January 27, 2017 Everybody gave an answer when they did not respond to the question “Any questions?”. That was, for me, clearly a non-verbal/non-written answer, but a physical one. They respond to the question with silence. Presuming that their silence meant “no”, the Invigilator left the room. For me this movie was just too silly. Reply Bruno January 27, 2017 Everybody gave an answer when they kept silence to the question “Any questions?”. That was, for me, clearly a non-verbal/non-written answer, but a physical one. They respond to the question with silence. Presuming that their silence meant “no”, the Invigilator left the room. For me this movie was just too silly. Reply Wes March 9, 2017 Surprised this one’s still on Netflix. Watched that one a long time ago. I’m guessing the “exam” was to see who could be not only the most intelligent at problem solving, but ruthless and able to see their way around pitfalls. Work together just to get to one survivor. What was this? “Battle Royale” with a disease cure possibly in the mix? Don’t think long about this when it’s over. The world of genetic research (or biological research/development; whatever that corporation did) must be quite the cut-throat world whenever this takes place. Reply greg April 1, 2017 i learned of this movie after watching circle and reading some comments on your review of it sating that it reminded them of exam. i love this site… i’m surprised to hear the explanation from the director, because i didn’t get the question right at all. oddly enough, i like my interpretation better, wrong as it is. my theory was that deaf’s paper said “question” on it because he was the question. in other words, he was seeking a right-hand and needed to know which one of them, if any, were the answer to his need. when blonde made it to the end and figured out the magnifying trick, she remembered deaf having mentioned something about the paper reflecting one’s own self. i thought that meant that his paper said “question”, while everyone else’s paper said “answer [number of applicant]”. so at the end, she gave him her paper since she was the answer to his question. she was the person that he needed. she proved such by having the right combination of traits to somehow make it through to the end. one way or another, that’s exactly the kind of person deaf and the company needed. i enjoyed this movie immensely. thanks as always for the great reviews and recommendations! Reply William April 6, 2017 Hey Taylor, I just watched the movie and read the analysis. Thanks for suggesting that kind of movie, I always like them. When did the invigilator said that they couldn’t talk to him ? and why did he ask if they have any questions if can’t talk to him ? Maybe these questions have already been answered, and I didn’t see it, and sorry for the language, I’m not native english. Reply Taylor Holmes April 7, 2017 Hey William, It’s been a little bit now since I have watched it, but I thought the rule was that the Invigilator stated was that they couldn’t talk to the guard. That they couldn’t address him in anyway. They were allowed to talk to the Invigilator. Is that what you were asking? Yeah, he stated it pretty clearly in the beginning of the movie that they weren’t allowed to talk to him. That was how they decided they could interact with him, but they couldn’t actually say anything to him. Glad you like the site, and the movie recommendations. I like you too! hahahah. Taylor Reply William April 8, 2017 Thank you for answering my question. 🙂 I’ll keep watching the movies you recommend and read your analysis ! Freestone wilson June 1, 2017 I love these kinds of movies. I just now finished watching this movie, last week I discovered and went through all three of the CUBE movies. I was struck here, in this movie, by the scene where the camera looked at the ceiling, and on this ceiling, centered in this room, was a near exact ceiling cube door! Well…not exactly, but very close. They are in the Cube, of sorts. The ultimate cube, one room, and they are the other rooms! At the beginning of the movie, did anyone catch the invigorator saying how the winner will enjoy working here for maybe 80 years?! The applicants must have been 35…45 years old. A figure of speech? A mistake by scriptwriter? In this movie, Tiny Details, are All! And I will bookmark this site. I love movies of this type. Freestone wilson Reply De Advocate June 19, 2017 Hmmm, I guess I am lucky that the first batch of Indie Films stumbled upon as the Netflix was but anew were decent. Had this been first I might have never fallen in love with them. I am going to call these types of films, ‘Bugs in a Jar Films’ because they are just that. Maybe another option would be ‘Thought Experiments Filmed’. There are hundreds of examples in science and philosophy. The ones like this and Circle fall in the philosophical category. I guess they have merit on that point. But for me they simply don’t succeed as a story. I don’t care about any of the characters except to hate the most obvious ones. There is no growth, no arc, literally nothing but the inevitable twist ending to keep me engaged. And while the endings might seem to be a revelation to make some ponder it ad infinitum, I tend to feel they aren’t thought out as well as the rest of the movie in many cases. Some to the point I feel they are simply pretentious. But rather than drag through generalities of the bad ones, I’ll make some points about how bad this one is. (at least from a story telling standpoint, as a thought experiment it works just fine). First thing, is this really how people in an interview are going to act? I find it hard to believe the Type A narcissist (psychopath?) would have made it this far along in the selection process given the ending. Umm, they already have a cure…so we need a final candidate because? We are so intent on curing the world, we will keep the cure from 2 of the 3 people we know have it during the course of this interview. Solid. If the stakes are this high, is the company really going to take no for an answer? Anyone in all probability had a fair chance at coming to the conclusion. Again, given the suddenly compassionate and caring demeanor shown at the end by the Invigilator, some of these candidates seem an odd choice other than to fill out all personality types covered box for the writer. Psychological pre-screening anyone? It is a contradiction to have the Invigilator (starting to like this word!) tell everyone distinctly that if anyone tries to communicate with him they would be disqualified, yet the writer/directer says if they spoke to him they would have won. This is a direct contradiction any way you slice it. Writing it, I agree. Saying it, sorry, nope…the Invigilator (yippee) says this is a violation right off. So double no to you, even if you are the writer. (Especially since you are the writer!) Compassion enough to cure the world… (or maybe greedy enough? This changes everything!) So maybe strike that…but again, they seem so darn nice and humanistic at the end! The end just left me flat. There were so many better ways to get the candidate they were looking for rather than leave it up to a pretty ridiculous mind game. And word game. If I knew I wanted a pretty compassionate butterfly I probably wouldn’t throw her in with a scorpion, black widow, and some ants and hope she made it through. If I had no clue which one I wanted, then I am a pretty stupid company for using this to get the best candidate. Like some others have said…enjoy it for killing 101 minutes…or longer if there happens to be a director’s cut :0…but don’t spend too much time pondering it. Reply Ari June 29, 2017 I’m ineffably ecstatic about this film. I love everything about it. I love how I can create different scenarios with different characters and different possibilities as I watch the actual movie unfold. I love how I can imagine that someone might even turn this into a series like a fictionalized reality movie or play. The first thing that comes to mind is like an anti-escape room. The goal is to stay in the room. I also enjoyed the multifaceted subtlety it had vis-a-vis the The Belko Experiment where it was just plainly your life vs. everyone else’s. I love how they closed the loop quite neatly. I enjoy open ended endings as well, but every element of the movie was well thought out and executed with exquisite precision. Thank you for introducing me to this expeprience. Reply Taylor Holmes June 29, 2017 You are welcome Ari. Hahah. I personally hope that the director carries this world further. That he comes back to it and takes it to a new level. That would be awesome. His movie, The Shack was quite enjoyable as well… thought totally different in every way. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.